NHL Picks (Winter Classic 1/2): Rangers Flyers, Sharks Canucks
NHL Picks and Hockey Predictions for Monday, January 2nd: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers (Winter Classic), San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks, Oilers Blackhawks, Devils Senators
The Winter Classic obviously steals the headlines for Monday’s picks. Hooray for hockey on a baseball field. The New York Rangers renew their rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers and “take it outside” if you will. This one will be a physical game in a Winter Classic between two teams who hate each other. I’m also interested to see if the Sharks can keep up with the Canucks. I think the Oilers have no hope against the Blackhawks.
I’m really excited about the Devils Senators game. The Sens always seem to give the Devils trouble, and it’s a true test for a couple of teams squarely in the thick of the early playoff races. The Senators aren’t exactly thought of as an elite team and the Devils were in last place this time last year. Who’s rebuilding effort worked best?
We opened the year with a bang, hitting the Preds over the Flames on New Year’s Day. Let’s keep rolling.
New York Rangers (+105) at Philadelphia Flyers (Winter Classic Game)
The New York Rangers have the better team and better goaltending. I expect the elements and an outdoor hockey spectacle to eliminate some of the Flyer’ home ice advantage. Philadelphia isn’t that far from New York and an unfamiliar arena should level the playing field even more. I trust Lundqvist over Bobrovsky.
Rangers 2 – Flyers 1
Value: 4/6 I trust the Rangers more on a big stage – the Flyers are proven failures in this spot.
New Jersey Devils (+105) at Ottawa Senators
Are the New Jersey Devils an elite hockey team?
They’re currently masquerading as a playoff team despite blown leads, aging goaltenders, young defensemen, and, at times, inept superstars. The same can be said of the Ottawa Senators. They have no goaltending, no defense, and an offense prone to ridiculous comebacks and high-scoring affairs. Both would make the playoffs if the season ended today.
I don’t think the Senators can keep this up, but I do think the Devils can. Look for Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise to exploit a dilapidated defense and ineffective goalie.
Devils 4 – Senators 3
Value: 4/6 – The Devils are a long way from home, but they’re the better team.
San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks (-150)
The Canucks match up nicely with the Sharks. They got them in the playoffs last year, earlier this season, and will get them again. Too much offense, the goalies are a wash, and the depth is similar. The Canucks just have the better team. The Sharks know it.
Canucks 4 – Sharks 2
Value: 1/6 – I’m not sure enough for a price this high
Edmonton Oilers at Chicago Blackhawks (-250)
I don’t know that anyone should be a -250 in hockey, but the Oilers are slumping and the Hawks are playing well. I can’t see this one going the other way.
Blackhawks 4 – Oilers 2
Value: 1/6 – It’s a really high price for very little reward. Why risk it?
Colorado Avalanche (+140) at LA Kings
Are we ready to proclaim the Kings out of their slump? The Avs are one of the hottest teams in the NHL and if anyone can prove the Kings aren’t completely back yet it’s the streaky Avalanche. Why not?
Avs 4 – Kings 2
Value: 3/6 – This is a great line for a team as hot as the Avs.
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